Tag Archives: Teaching and Learning

Flipped Classroom Tool

13 Aug

Movenote

The flipped classroom describes a reversal of traditional teaching where students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then class time is used to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge through strategies such as problem-solving, discussion or debates.

In the flipped classroom, the roles and expectations of students and teachers change where:

  1. students take more responsibility for their own learning and study core content either individually or in groups before class and then apply knowledge and skills to a range of activities using higher order thinking,
  2. teaching ‘one-to-many’ focuses more on facilitation and moderation than lecturing, though lecturing is still important. Significant learning opportunities can be gained through facilitating active learning, engaging students, guiding learning, correcting misunderstandings and providing timely feedback using a variety of pedagogical strategies,
  3. there is a greater focus on concept exploration, meaning making and demonstration or application of knowledge in the face-to-face setting.

My favourite tool to in the classroom is Movenote. Movenote is a great free tool that integrates nicely with Google apps. With Movenote, you can easily present your documents with video and/or voice. You can also use a pointer tool to highlight particular parts of the presentation. I tend to use Movenote when I have templates using Google docs or presentations. I can then explain in detail how to use the templates, highlighting specific parts as I explain. Movenote then hosts the videos that are created, and I can either embed them on my site or use the link so students can watch the instructions anytime that they need to.

Discussion Rooms

28 Feb

Dialogue is a hallmark of human interaction; the sharing of enlightening ideas, emblematic of academia. In this blog on teaching learning and learning teaching, teachers and learners alike are encouraged to enter into an open, dynamic dialogue on these, and related, topics – e.g., what are your thoughts teaching, from the perspective of teacher or student; likewise, what are your thoughts on learning, from the perspective of teacher or student?

My discussion rooms in my online classroom is an exciting place. It gives students a chance t express themselves in manner that they are comfortable and that will help them in the future. The “Discussions” space serves as a forum for teachers and students to bring up and constructively discuss areas of interest related to teaching and learning not otherwise covered in this blog.

In an era that many writers have referred to as “The Digital Age,” secondary learners are truly a new breed. They do their work and entertain themselves while communicating in a manner that was unimagined just 20 years ago.

Building on What we Know

24 Feb

Over the past five weeks I’ve been reading about school leadership about where we’re heading and how they’re travelling in relation to their individual school goals. It’s important for schools to have measurable goals but these are simply a means to an end. This is important because at the moment we are discussing this very issue at school.

I have been reflecting on the educational theory about building on what people know. I do this all the time with teaching. Be it my students at school or adult classes. For school leaders, it’s about good learning and teaching. We know our conversations are enriched by good theory into practice and a solid framework on which to develop our goals.

Everybody wants to get to the end using existing paradigms but we need to first remind ourselves what is good learning and teaching in today’s world. These ‘informed’ goals become the touchstones for delivering our strategic intent: improved learning outcomes for all students and a rewarding working life for teachers.

Good leaders know the value of building their professional skills and knowledge through reflective dialogue with peers and participating in ongoing professional development that benefits student learning. As a system, our goal is to ensure our students are at the centre.

Leader or Manager?

4 Feb

Yes I am still considering classroom practice as I sit in office on this hot long weekend. For as long as I have been in education, the term “classroom management” is something that has been in every evaluation form I have seen as well as a major topic of discussion.  In every element of leadership, there is some element of management but to paraphrase Stephen Covey, “you manage things, but we lead people.”  I don’t know any person that likes to feel that they are “managed”, but I do know lots of people who want to be inspired and engaged in the work that they do.  Leadership brings that out, not management.

The Effective Teacher

3 Feb

I have been thinking a lot lately about the skills of an effective teacher and an effective leader. It is so often that good classroom teachers are promoted to middle management or further.

The more I think of it, the more I really believe that we need to look at teachers as leaders in the classroom.  Every great leader serves those that are around them, and great teachers do this as well.  I see it as my job to ensure these people are stars. Of course with the student at the centre. They build upon the strengths of their students, building confidence, while also providing them supports in areas they need.

For as long as I have been in education, the term “classroom management” is something that has been in every evaluation form I have seen as well as a major topic of discussion.  In every element of leadership, there is some element of management but to paraphrase Stephen Covey, “you manage things, but we lead people.”  I don’t know any person that likes to feel that they are “managed”, but I do know lots of people who want to be inspired and engaged in the work that they do.  Leadership brings that out, not management.

Under Pressure

19 Oct

There can be no doubt that this is a high pressure time of year for students and staff alike. As a leader in school it is up to keep things calm. One of my favourite sayings is “Let’s just get them home safely”

I have reflected often in this blog about the way I keep things calm. Today I do so again as we are in the midst of it all. Following are 5 things smart leaders do that transform pressure from a liability to an asset:

  • Who am I : Leaders must know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and where they will and won’t compromise. Good back to your philosophy or educational vision. You wrote it when things were clear and let it guide you.
  • Team: A leader’s job is to acquire and develop talent. Use the team that is around you. I think of Sir Alex Ferguson and those great leaders he developed at Manchester United. The better the talent, and the better you utilize talent, the less pressure you’ll feel
  • Keep It Simple: Complexity creates pressure. The best leaders look to simplify everything they can.
  • Focus: Focused leaders rarely feel external pressure. When I concentrate on the strategic plan and annual goals based on data it all becomes clear.
  • Did I train today: If the answer is no then that is probably why I am so tight. Leaders who don’t create time for quality thought and planning end-up taking unnecessary short cuts and risks. They let pressure force them into making bad decisions that a little whitespace could have prevented.
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